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The Ear, the Eye and the Arm

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm is a middlegrade sci-fi/fantasy novel by Nancy Farmer.

In the year 2194, the three children of Zimbabwe’s chief of security are feeling the tingling need for adventure. Their father has kept them essentially cloistered within the secure walls of their estate, worried about what the dangerous city of Harare would do with them.

But they figure sneaking out for one day of fun and then hurrying back won’t be so bad.

Shortly after leaving, though, they disappear.

Their parents call in a detective agency, one of the only ones left, called the Ear, the Eye and the Arm. Their exposure to nuclear waste has given them special powers that will help them find the children faster – or so they hope.

The children, meanwhile, are getting a much bigger, far more dangerous adventure than they expected…

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm features an intriguing futuristic world full of household robots and Praise singers that hypnotize you with happiness to make you feel better. It’s an odd future, but very interesting and inventive.

A surprise twist to the kids rather sly trip outside their father’s estate came out of nowhere, in a good way, for me. I was pleased to find that The Ear, the Eye and the Arm is a zany, spirited tale instead of one that is pulled down by the darker sides of this future world. It was fun in an entirely new way, rather innovative.

Yet, after a while, what made The Ear, the Eye and the Arm endearing began to become tedious. The continual near-misses and jaunty tone went on longer than I felt necessary and watered down the enjoyment of it. I think, personally, it could have been much better if shorter.

I was happily charmed with, I’d say, the first half of it… then had to skim the second half. That’s a regrettable result of what was really a fun children’s book.


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